Station wagons might no longer be the dominant form of family transportation in the United States, but that doesn't mean that they have completely disappeared from the automotive landscape. There are several traditional wagons currently plying American roads, as well as a host of unusually-styled vehicles that hover on the line between wagon and crossover. Marketing materials, of course, prefer the latter term, but it's hard to deny the wagon roots of several existing crossover people movers, so we've included them on this list.
Let's take a quick look at 8 new station wagons and what they have to offer modern car family shoppers.
The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen is a bit of an odd duck, as it's not based on the same platform as the current Jetta sedan but rather the VW Golf hatchback. For enthusiasts, this is a blessing as the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen's driving experience is a step above that of the standard four-door Jetta. With 67 cubic feet of cargo space available, the VW is every bit the utility-equivalent of a compact crossover, and it also offers the choice between either a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine or a very thrifty 140 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that also generates 236 lb-ft of torque from its four cylinders.
The 2013 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is the first of the breed for Cadillac, a company which had previously built SUVs but never a traditional family wagon. Intended to compete against European rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is not only quite comfort from an equipment perspective but it can also be ordered with a stiff and responsive suspension system sitting underneath its slick exterior. The CTS Sport Wagon's standard engine is a 3.0-liter V-6 that is good for 270 horses, with a 318 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 available as an upgrade, and all-wheel drive can be added as an option. It's possible to stuff 58 cubic feet of cargo into the Cadillac with the rear seats folded forward.
The 2013 Acura TSX Sport Wagon - there's that word again - is another premium model that aims to combine fun and practicality. Although not as athletic as the Cadillac, the Acura TSX Sport Wagon wears its TSX sedan bones well, and like most Acura products the car can be loaded up with high tech features. Under the hood the TSX Sport Wagon comes exclusively with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. With a full complement of passengers the Acura can haul more than the equivalent of a full-size sedan's trunk, and with the back row out of the picture it's capable of swallowing 61 cubic feet of gear.
The 2013 Audi allroad is the first of our crossovers-cum-wagons, as it replaces the Audi A4's Avant wagon body style for the current model year. Inside there's not a lot of difference, as the Audi Allroad matches the A4 Avant's 51 cubic feet of total cargo space, and even its drivetrain is the same (a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 211 horsepower). The biggest change has to do with the car's styling, which has been 'enhanced' via the installation of all-terrain-inspired plastic fender protectors and other assorted body cladding. The Allroad also rides taller than the Avant ever did thanks to its extra ground clearance, and it comes standard with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.
Photo by Audi Media Services
The 2013 Volvo XC70 follows a similar philosophy when compared to the Allroad, although the 'crossover' wagon was sold alongside the pure V70 wagon for several years before that model left the American market. The Volvo XC70 is for all intents and purposes a rugged-looking version of the V70, with the ability to tackle rougher terrain thanks to its taller ground clearance. 72 cubic feet of total cargo space await Volvo XC70 owners within its cavernous confines, and the car's base six-cylinder engine generates 240 horsepower. A turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder ups output to 300 horses, and all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option with the wagon.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon is an old standby from a brand that never gave up on U.S. station wagon fans. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon goes a step further than most other wagons currently available by offering seven passenger seating. This is accomplished via a fold-out jump-seat that is housed - facing the rear of the car - in the wagon's cargo bay. If you'd rather haul cargo instead of people, then the E-Class wagon rewards you with just under 60 cubic feet of total internal storage space. Mechanically, the wagon is restricted to either a 302 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 matched with standard all-wheel drive, or a blazing-fast twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 in the rear-wheel drive E63 AMG model that is good for 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.
The 2013 Honda Crosstour has never been marketed as a new station wagon, but that doesn't mean we can't call it what it really is: a Honda Accord wagon. The Honda Crosstour shares its platform with the Accord, and while it might not have the same angular lines as its sibling, it once carried the Accord name on its bulbous trunk. Most buyers appreciate the Crosstour's 51.3 cubic feet of cargo space, while others are enamored of its sedate, comfortable driving manners. 192 horsepower from a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is the entry-level choice for the Honda, but selecting the wagon's 3.5-liter V-6 introduces 278 horsepower and a whole lot more acceleration. All-wheel drive is available only in the Crosstour's top-tier V-6 trim level.
The 2014 BMW 3 Series wagon is another long-term competitor in the compact family station wagon sweepstakes. Perhaps the most engaging wagon on this list to drive, the BMW 3 Series wagon comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard equipment, which is good for 240 horsepower. A diesel model (180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill) is also offered with the wagon. All-wheel drive is included free of charge across the board when ordering the BMW hauler, and its total cargo capacity measures out at 53 cubic feet.